Monday, April 30, 2018

Mystery: Rare ocular cancer in two southern states

North Carolina is where they have all the pig farms and polluted water from them ... am wondering if that might have something to do with this. See:

North Carolina's big pig waste problem |

Oct 2, 2017 - North Carolina's number one industry is agriculture. Just take a scenic drive around any rural town in the Tarheel state and you're bound to see tobacco and sweet potato farmlands of past and present. However, one farming industry is doing its best to remain as hidden as possible. The hog farming ...

And it's strange how girls who went to the same college were diagnosed with this very rare cancer -- what is going on at that college?

So far... 36 people have responded saying they, too, attended Auburn University and have been diagnosed with ocular melanoma.


CBS News

Researchers want to know what may be causing a rare eye cancer in two states. Ocular melanoma is an extremely rare form of cancer, usually found in just six of every one million people. But it has been identified in a group of 18 patients in Huntersville, North Carolina, and in a second group in Auburn, Alabama, some of whom were friends who'd attended Auburn University together.

Juleigh Green was diagnosed first: at age 27, she saw odd flashes of light. 


Juleigh Green was diagnosed with ocular melanoma. Subsequently, two of her friends from Auburn University were diagnosed with the same rare cancer. 


"He said, 'There's a mass there, there's something there, I don't know what it is, but it looks like it could be, you know, a tumor,'" Green said. "It's like you had the breath knocked out of you, you know?"

In 2001, it was her college friend Allison Allred, 31 at the time. "I was just seeing some mild flashes of light for, say, 7 to 10 days," Allred said.

A doctor told her she had a detached retina, but then, "He said, 'Well, it's detached because there's a 10-millimeter melanoma sitting on it.'"

Both women had to have an eye removed. Then their friend Ashley McCrary found black spots in her iris. It was the same rare cancer.

"What's crazy is literally standing there, I was like, 'Well, I know two people who've had this cancer," said McCrary.  

"And did you understand then how strange that was?" asked CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

"No. No, I didn't."


Ocular melanoma, usually found in just six of every one million people, has been identified in patients from Huntersville, N.C., and in a group of former Auburn University students.


Strange enough that she mentioned it to Dr. Marlana Orloff, the oncologist treating her at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

"Most people don't know anyone with this disease," said Dr. Orloff. "We said, 'OK, these girls were in this location, they were all definitively diagnosed with this very rare cancer –  what's going on?'"

Dr. Orloff and her colleagues are now studying these patients, many of whom travel to Philadelphia for treatment.  Another Auburn grad, Lori Lee, kept her eye, but the cancer metastasized to her liver. She now travels from Alabama to Philadelphia every six weeks, to be treated in a clinical trial.


Dr. Marlana Orloff examines Lori Lee at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.


"This is a rare cancer, so it's not like you can just go anywhere and have anybody know anything really about it," Lee said.

There is no known cure. Allison Allred's cancer has recurred nine times in six places in her body.

"Two days ago found out that it's come back to my brain," Allred said, "So, I'm actually gonna have radiation on my brain tomorrow."

Werner asked, "How do you sit there with a smile, given everything that you've been through?"

"It's totally the Lord – totally the Lord that has carried us through, every step of it."

Werner said, "The other thing that's kind of touchy is that people think of what happened to the three of you as a disfiguring injury."

"That was very hard for me," McCrary replied. "Growing up, the one thing that I liked about myself was my eyes."

But their own struggles motivated them to help find other cancer victims. McCrary started a Facebook page. So far, she says, 36 people have responded saying they, too, attended Auburn University and have been diagnosed with ocular melanoma.

"We believe that when we're looking at what's going on in Huntersville, North Carolina, and what's going on here, there is something that potentially links us together," she said.

"Until we get more research into this, then we're not gonna get anywhere. We've got to have it so that we can start linking all of them together to try to find a cause, and then one day, hopefully, a cure," said Lee.

Auburn University officials say they are hopeful that research and awareness will advance the prevention and treatment of this cancer. The Alabama Department of Health believes "it would be premature to determine that a cancer cluster exists in the area."


Good News! Richard Painter is running as Democrat for Senate in Al Franken's seat!

I love Richard Painter!  He once was a Republican--until Trump--who, along with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, has horrified him with what the GOP has become. Richard is now an avowed Democrat, running to take Al Franken's seat.

Make no mistake: Richard Painter is running for Senate, thanks to Trump
Washington Post
4 hours ago
Richard Painter to run as Democrat for Minnesota Senate seat vacated by Franken | TheHill
The Hill
3 hours ago
Prominent Trump critic Painter to seek US Senate as Democrat
Minneapolis Star Tribune
5 hours ago

TRUMP IS AN ENEMY OF THE STATE - Failure to recognize this is to our Peril as a nation.

A warning interview that we MUST pay attention to. But I fear we won't. Trump and his supporters are pushing us on a downward course away from our democratic republic, heading into a faux-Christian, authoritarian oligarchy:


 ...regarding American views about our system. There's this notion...that you have to respect the office even if you don't respect the man. This is part of American political culture. And yet we're talking about a man  in Trump who is shitting on the office on a regular basis. Right? But we have to respect the office.

I think what happens, in this attempt to maintain political norms in the face of someone who has overturned all of those norms so disastrously, are, for example, these arguments about whether we should refer to Trump's lies as actually being what they are — which is lies — and not as "untruths," "mistakes," "alternative facts" or some other verbiage. A wise man once said that the only reason our system in America works is that it's based on the notion of shame. A lot of what we think are legal restrictions on the office of the presidency are not actually legal restrictions. They're actually moral restrictions that the founders didn't bother to put in writing because they simply assumed that shame would keep a person from abusing the powers of the presidency. They did not recognize the possibility of an absolutely and utterly shameless man being in this position.

But Donald Trump's power comes from the fact that he has no shame whatsoever, and yet we in the media continue to treat him with a level of respect that his office deserves, all the while watching him overturn all those moral norms. It's time to stop pretending that this man and situation are normal. It's time to treat Donald Trump as an enemy of the state, which is what he is.

There has literally not been a single major crisis that our country has faced in the last year and a half. What happens when this government is confronted with a real crisis? We are on the precipice right now. If we are not willing to do whatever it takes to overturn this moment, then we deserve what's coming to us.

A thought experiment: If this right-wing Christian fundamentalist or fascist movement were to get its way, how would America be different on a day-to-day basis for the average person?

It would be a country that looked enormously like a Christian version of Saudi Arabia or a Christian version of Iran. Nearly one-third of Americans can be defined as Christian nationalists. That is, by the way, more than 100 million people. Let's just keep that in mind for a minute. More than 100 million Americans believe the country is a Christian nation that should be predicated on Christian values and where religious minorities have rights — but rights determined under Christian law. That is the country we are moving towards. That is not the United States that our forefathers thought to create.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New interesting movie on streaming Netflix: "COME SUNDAY"

The film tells the true life story of Rev. Carlton Pearson, an evangelical minister who gave up on the idea of Hell and how his religious community then abandoned him. His story was presented on the radio show This American Life. The producers of that show helped create the movie. 

It's truly amazing how people want to believe in everlasting hellfire/damnation and will fight with all their being to keep that belief -- even to deserting and condemning anyone who tries to convince them God is at least as loving and merciful as they are (most people admit that they themselves wouldn't be able to condemn anyone that way).  Come Sunday is a good movie, telling how Pearson's life changed dramatically when he realized he had been preaching and believing the wrong message.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Right there in the middle of 5th Avenue

Because it is almost impossible these days to tell the difference between what is real and what is satire when it comes to Trump, I warn you about the following: This is Satire.  But there is no doubt it could also actually happen, exactly as described -- and the Republicans would react exactly as described.  It's tragic that we have come to this, isn't it?

Opinion: Right there in the middle of 5th Avenue


WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans and conservative leaders rallied around President Trump Friday, attempting to minimize political damage after Trump shot down a man in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City.

"I'm not going to put myself in the position of having to respond to every presidential shooting," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a hastily called press conference at the Capitol, surrounded by members of his leadership team. "I just happen to think it's important to keep our focus where it belongs, on enacting a conservative, pro-growth agenda that regular Americans care about, such as tax cuts for the rich and the repeal of Medicare." 

Privately, however, at least some Republican members expressed concern about the long-term political impact of such incidents, especially with midterms looming in less than seven months. 

"I think that each elected Republican has to make a series of decisions, day in and day out, about whether they find the president's conduct acceptable and to what extent it's appropriate to work with him," as one frustrated GOP congressman put it, demanding anonymity so he could speak freely. "This shooting is fine for Trump -- he's not on the ballot this fall -- but he's putting the rest of us in a really tough position."

The reaction was similar among Senate Republicans.

"I think we should criticize the president when he's done something wrong, and applaud him when he's done something right," said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who nonetheless refused to condemn the shooting directly. "The president and I are scheduled to play golf together next week," Graham said. "If I have concerns -- and I'm not saying I do -- I think it's more appropriate to express them to the president in private."

Others, however, were more blunt. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona quickly introduced a resolution warning the president of potential censure should he again pull out a gun and shoot somebody. They withdrew that measure after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he would not bring it to a floor vote, calling it "divisive"and "unnecessary."

"I've been assured by people in the White House that there are no plans to shoot anybody else, at least not at this point," McConnell said.

The victim, attorney Michael Avenatti, was shot twice in the back as he left the studios of NBC News at Rockefeller Center after an interview. According to doctors at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, Avenatti is expected to recover with no permanent damage to his mouth or other, less vital organs. 

At a regularly scheduled White House press briefing Thursday, spokesperson Sarah Sanders referred all questions about the shooting to the president's private attorneys. 

"Look, I know you folks in the mainstream media are looking for every opportunity to criticize this president, who continues to accomplish amazing things for the American people," Sanders said. "The economy is stronger than it's been in ages, ISIS is on the run, the remaking of the judiciary. That's all far more important than any distractions the media likes to throw out there."

Sanders also refused to rule out the possibility of Trump issuing an immediate pardon for himself, as first proposed by famed legal scholar Alan Dershowitz. 

Despite network TV video of Trump emerging from the presidential limousine, gun in hand, other prominent Trump supporters are questioning whether the shooting occurred at all. Fox News host Sean Hannity used his entire Thursday night segment to explore secret links between Hillary Clinton and Avennati, describing the attorney as a "paid crisis actor" as well as "a clear descendant of immigrants." According to Hannity, the attack has all the earmarks of a "false flag" operation choreographed by the FBI.

"This is the deep state at work, undermining our democracy, my friends," Hannity told his audience. "This is an unelected part of your government, looking to overturn a duly elected president. Don't think this a coincidence -- it is the biggest scandal in American history."

According to an overnight Quinnipiac poll, 68 percent of Republicans now agree that the shooting never happened. A similar poll from Rasmussen put the number at 93 percent.


Friday, April 06, 2018

A treat for you: Beautiful love scene from Indian movie

Even if you don't understand the language, this scene tells a full story of deep love and passion -- the best love scene ever filmed, in my opinion. From the movie Jodhaa Akbar (one of my and Holland's all-time favorite movies).  The story behind this scene is that the princess has been married to the king (in ancient times) to cement relations between the Hindus and the Muslims (she is Hindi, he is Muslim). The movie is all about the development of their love over time -- he has agreed to wait for her to love him -- and this is the final scene in which she finally realizes how much she does love him. She has overcome the differences in their religions, which has kept them apart -- and has realized the depth of love beyond differences, into oneness... I think anyone with an open heart watching this scene will feel what it is saying, even without the English subtitles (~.~)

In Indian language with sharp images for viewing:

If you want to know the words: With English subtitles (but blurrier images) :

In the movie, the king has an enlightenment experience -- during a Sufi song of love being sung to God by Sufi priests during the king's wedding celebration.  This scene and song convey the deep feeling of love for God, much like Rumi and Hafiz poems speak about. To watch this scene is to feel that love for yourself, it so beautifully resonates in the heart:


Joy Reid (I love her!) lays it all out perfectly--even a child could understand this

I am sitting here cheering on Bob Mueller and Michael Avenatti and hoping for a swift end to Trump's presidency...the sooner, the better.

Joy Reid missed a career as a litigator. Listen to how thoroughly she lays out the legal trap Trump walked into yesterday when she appeared with Lawrence O'Donnell last night.

"Yeah, it's pretty amazing. I'm not a lawyer, obviously," she said. "I certainly don't have the level of insight into this that Michael Avenatti has, although if I have a problem, I'll call. Let's apply the common sense test here to what the president and Michael Cohen want you to believe.

"They would have you believe that his attorney, by himself, took $130,000 of his own money, to pay off someone after the "Access Hollywood" tape that did not impact in any way Donald Trump's ability to be elected," she said.

"And right before the election, they give her money, although they believe her to be not credible. Someone they described as having zero credibility, someone you don't believe can implicate your client, that your client says he never had a relationship with. So you give this person, who you've had no relationship with, other than taking photos, $130,000 of your own money as the lawyer, and you create an LLC to create a secret corporation. You on your own as the lawyer create an alias for your client, you put that alias' name on the agreement, never telling your client you've done all of that, and you do it simply because you're afraid a woman will make a claim that you believe to be completely false and not provable so she can't even prove she had a relationship with him.

"What would stop any woman off the street then to walk up to Donald Trump and say, 'I too had a relationship with Donald Trump.' Why weren't there hundreds of women lining up to get $130,000 in free money from Michael Cohen? The whole thing makes no sense. You don't have to have gone to law school to understand that is crazy. We as civilians pay lawyers, we hire someone like Michael Avenatti. They don't pay for our issues, we pay them. So Donald Trump didn't pay his lawyer. His lawyer paid a random woman, who all he did was take a picture with in California? This is crazy.

"So I think Donald Trump's problem is, to your point -- i think to both of your points, he never should have answered the question. because the right answer to this is, of course, 'I paid -- had my lawyer do this, and, of course, I meant to pay him back.' Which means they attempted to influence the election. There's no way out for Donald Trump here.

"The Mueller case on its own with the Russia stuff is tough. The Stormy Daniels case feels like an absolute vise for this president."